Wed 2 Aug 2023, 10:54 by NUFC News

NUFC adjust membership ballot after strong negative reaction from supporters

NUFC adjust membership ballot after strong negative reaction from supporters
Serena Taylor | Newcastle United
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Newcastle United has moved swiftly to make a significant change to the new membership ballot that was announced yesterday, following a strong negative reaction from supporters.

Having paid £37/20 for an adult/under-18 membership, fans learned yesterday just what the promised "ballot" for home tickets would entail and it made for pretty grim reading.

The club announced that the ballot for the Aston Villa game on Saturday the 12th of August would open today and close on Friday the 4th of August. However, seats were to be randomly allocated, meaning a supporter would have to be prepared to sit anywhere in St. James' and willing to pay between £44 and £74 for the privilege.

As of today, seats will still be randomly allocated, but supporters will at least be able to choose the category that best suits their needs.

While far from ideal, the press release from NUFC contains this line, "Please note that supporters are unable to select multiple price categories at this time", which points to a better solution being in the pipeline. Some have suggested that issues with the new digital ticketing system are partly to blame for the numerous ticketing fiascos we've seen this summer.

Still, the ballot page members are currently sent to doesn't give a breakdown of the pricing of each category or tell supporters which parts of the ground each category covers. All we know is that an adult ticket in "Category 1" is £74, while an adult ticket in "Category 3" is £44. How hard could it have been to add the pricing and an up-to-date map of the stadium showing the areas each category covers?

Our overall summation of the situation is that the membership ballot has now reached the bare minimum in terms of viability, which is a good step forward from yesterday. We're also extremely impressed by how quickly the club has reacted to supporter feedback and made a positive change to address it.

Here are CEO Darren Eales' comments on the matter, demonstrating that those at the highest level are at least aware of the situation and involved in the decision to make the adjustment:

"We are committed to ensuring match tickets are made available fairly so that fans can continue to support the team so magnificently home and away.

"While we have made positive changes in that regard following ticketing workshops with fans, we also appreciated the feedback we specifically received in response to our proposed home ticket ballot process for members.

"After reviewing that feedback, we have made an adjustment and members will be able to select the specific price point that best suits them when entering the ballot.

"Supporter engagement is hugely important to us and we will continue to seek fans' views as we build towards sustainable success together."

It's lightyears away from the response we wouldn't have received under Mike Ashley, but the whole situation probably shouldn't have come about in the first place. Hopefully, today's change is just the first of many when it comes to ticketing at NUFC.

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